Surrey will be making history this weekend as it hosts its first pride parade.
Beginning at 11 a.m. on June 26 at Surrey City Hall Plaza, the Surrey Pride Parade will begin, winding its way along University Boulevard to the Surrey Pride Festival at Holland Park.
The parade is being organized by Surrey Pride, which could not be reached by phone by The Leader’s press deadline on Monday.
The festival will include entertainment, vendors, food and a bouncy castle, according to the group’s website.
Surrey’s Alex Sangha is founder of Sher Vancouver, a gay support group in the region. This year, Sangha will be the first Sikh Grand Marshall of the Vancouver pride parade and said he’s very excited Surrey now has its own parade.
“I’m trying to get all the Sher Vancouver people out to come and support Surrey Pride,” Sangha said Monday. “It’s a little bit harder for people to come out of the closet in Surrey, because the brown gay community is quite small.”
He’s telling his membership there is little to worry about.
“I’m telling them these are friends and allies,” Sangha said.
He says there’s a large amount of support in the community, particularly after a gunman opened fire in a gay bar in Orlando, Florida on June 12, killing 49 people and wounding another 53.
Police shot and killed the gunman.
“After what happened in Orlando, there’s a lot of support in our community from a lot of straight people,” Sangha said. “They’re saying ‘no, we don’t care what your sexuality is, no one has a right to violence, no one has a right to end your life.’”
He said the tragedy in Florida was not the reason behind Surrey’s first gay pride parade.
“I think this was being planned before,” Sangha said.
He notes that Surrey has come a long way, flying the pride flag at city hall and hosting its first pride parade.
“Congratulations to Surrey council. I’m very happy,” Sangha said.
The gathering will commence at City Hall Plaza, at 13450 104 Ave. at 11 a.m. Sunday, June 26.
For more information, visit www.surreypride.ca